Fluid Power Journal

Fluid Injection Injury

safety-iconWhen I was working for a mining company, I realized an area that everyone could learn and/or refresh their knowledge in was safety, and with this in mind, I researched and investigated fluid injection injuries. The International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) believes that implementation of safe procedures is paramount in all fluid power systems, the electrical and electronic controls that guide them, and all associated technologies. IFPS recommends that, in every circumstance, factory, piece of mobile equipment, or application of any fluid power product or its controls, every employee and employer is responsible to know, understand, and practice the safety policies and procedures already in place. Consult manufacturers’ safety specifications for each machine.  Take the responsibility to improve the safety standards whenever an opportunity presents itself. No one knows the equipment better than the people who work with it daily – they are the most important ones to improve that equipment’s safety!

Follow Safe Practices

  • Prevention is always the best treatment. Know the proper operation and maintenance of all equipment.
  • Comply with all rules and requirements established by the particular manufacturer and site where the work is being performed.
  • Use personnel protective devices: face shields or safety goggles, ear plugs or covers, safety shoes and clothing that is suitable for the environment. Wear gloves when handling hot materials or to protect hands against hot surfaces.

Be Prepared in the Event of a Fluid Injection Injury

Doctors may not be experienced in treating injection injuries and therefore may underestimate the urgency of this type of injury. It can take hours to locate a qualified medical professional. Your best chance at proper treatment is to locate a hospital or hand surgeon who is experienced with this type of injury in advance and have contact information readily available.

Your company should be prepared to have the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available whenever an injury occurs.

Know Before You Go

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The “Know Before You Go” theory is vital to receiving proper treatment. IFPS offers a safety card to all its members and certified professionals that provides five critical pieces of information to communicate to the medical staff. (Safety cards can also be purchased.) Posters are also available.

  1. What type of fluid? (Provide the Material Safety Data Sheet.)
  2. What is the amount of fluid injected?
  3. What was the pressure of fluid injected?
  4. What is the spread of injected material?
  5. How much time has lapsed between injection and treatment?

Since pre-planning is recommended, there is a blank space on the card that should have the name and phone number of the doctor or medical facility in your area that is experienced in treating injection injuries.

In the event of an injury, you must IMMEDIATELY SEEK MEDICAL CARE, and having this critical information readily available should help medical professionals treat the injury.

Get Educated on Safety

  • IFPS offers safety cards that contain five critical pieces of information for doctors and emergency medical technicians in treating fluid injection injuries.
  • IFPS offers a free Web seminar – “In The Line Of Fire” – which is available to the public
  • IFPS offers free safety posters for download compliments of the IFPS and HSAC*. Visit www.ifps.org.
  • IFPS offers Online Hydraulic Safety Awareness Training Courses (fee based). Courses provide an awareness of hydraulic hazards in the workplace, in-depth reviews of potential exposures to injury from hydraulic systems, and ways to reduce risk and eliminate hazards for workers, equipment, companies, and the environment. Courses offered:
  1. Hydraulic Safety: Exposure Level Online Course
  2. Hydraulic Safety: High Risk Maintenance Level
  3. Hydraulic Safety in Construction Overview
  4. Fluid Injection Awareness

    “Fantastic Hydraulic Safety Awareness Training video, and I am convinced that it saved our company from a very serious injury. I used the information gleaned from the video to conduct a lunch and learn on injection injuries. The very next week, a maintenance worker that took the class saved a contractor from grabbing a hydraulic hose to stop a pinhole leak. The contractor was within inches of grabbing the hose when my worker physically pulled him back and educated him on injection injury dangers.

    As a follow up, we have changed our corporate policy on accumulators based on what I saw in the video.”

    Brian J. Szuch CFPS, CFPAI, Gestamp

*Hydraulic Safety Authority of Canada is the leader in hydraulic safety awareness training, recognized internationally for developing the most comprehensive training curriculum available in the safety industry.

The information expressed above is not medical advice or a substitute for a professional medical opinion.  The International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) provides this information as an educational tool, and IFPS does not assume any liability that may arise from its use or nonuse.  IFPS does not verify that this information is valid, current, or suitable for any situation.  Consult a medical professional immediately in the event of an emergency.

By Dan Helgerson, CFPS-Certified Fluid Power Specialist, CFPSOS, LLC, and Fluid Power Journal Technical Editor

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